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Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell Tuesday called for greater synergy between local and regional entities amid ongoing discussions on multi-hazard early warning systems and business continuity.
“A collaborative approach is needed where resources and experiences are shared with the aim of enhancing each entity so that collectively government and the private sector can provide more efficient services to the populations that they are mandated to serve,” Mitchell told the meeting of the Network of Caribbean Chambers (CARICHAM) that got underway here on Monday.
“We cannot continue in an environment where data are generated and each entity holds on to its bit. We must invest in new and creative approaches to data storage and sharing where critical data needed for effective elaboration of policies and plans can be easily accessed and used by decision makers.”
Mitchell acknowledged that as a region, there have been significant strides in the use of information, communications and technology (ICT) but told the conference that “much more can be done”.
He said CARICHAM, comprising 24 Chambers throughout the region including Suriname, Haiti, Martinique, St Kitts- Nevis, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago, “can play a pivotal role in driving the use of ICT for multi-hazard early warning systems and business continuity.
“Effective use of technology can help our population to be more prepared for hazards and provide businesses with the capacity to respond sooner and more effectively. Research and development too must be enhanced if the region is to improve its capacity for multi-hazard early warning systems,” Mitchell said.
He said that with climate hazards becoming more frequent and intense some of the conventional response methods are no longer applicable.
“How do we adapt to climate variants in sustainable ways. What systems are we handing over to the next generation? This is an opportune time to engage our young people as we seek to resolve these critical questions.
“CARICHAM can be a significant stakeholder in disaster management and in the progressive approach to make the region safer,” Mitchell said, noting that the network is uniquely placed to mobilise the regional private sector forces to become more involved in disaster preparedness.
He said multi-hazard early warning systems and business continuity require significant human and financial resources as well as significant expensive equipment and that a regional approach through the relevant disaster management agencies and stakeholders in partnerships with governments and the private sector “will ensure that our people are provided with enhanced early warning systems and that essential businesses services can continue in the quickest possible time following any hazard or disaster”.
The meeting is being attended by representatives from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the World Bank, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) as well as regional disaster management and meteorological professionals.
“This meeting will be two-fold; it is geared toward building strategic initiatives for the members of CARICHAM for the next three years. The aim is to ensure maximum benefits to all member Chambers and their constituent members, to develop working relationships with regional stakeholders such as the CDB, UNDRR and the World Bank,” the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) said in a statement.
“Additionally, UNDRR representatives will be carrying out a review of Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems for Enhanced Resilience. This discussion is extremely important considering the region’s exposure to significant hazards and challenges of natural disasters,” it added. CMC/